While snow is well known for creating dangerous conditions, ice can pose an even deadlier threat. Difficult to see in most instances, it has been the source of countless car accidents and serious falls. With that in mind, let’s look at various ice dangers and how to deal with them effectively.
1. AVOID ICE DAMS
For those who have lived in cold parts of the U.S., having ice on the roof of your house or business is an accepted reality. This phenomenon is called an ice dam. As a thaw begins, much of this ice simply gives way and falls to the ground. If you are under the falling ice, it can be painful at best and lethal at worst. The best way to deal with an ice dam is to use a metal rake or shovel to break the ice free and allow it to fall safely. The best way to prevent an ice dam is to insulate your attic and ceiling, to keep warm air from causing the melt and, ultimately, the ice buildup.
2. TREE PROTECTION
In the right conditions, a tree can be completely covered in ice. While beautiful, it can destroy the tree and potentially harm those near it if the ice begins to fall. The key to protecting trees during an ice storm is to occasionally brave the storm and shake the limbs of the tree to loosen any existing ice buildup. The strength of the storm will dictate how often you work on the tree as safety must always be your first concern. Do not do this if it is too dangerous outside.
3. SAFE POWER SUPPLY
Ice on power lines is like watching a stopwatch counting down to power failure at your home. The weight of ice on these lines is often enough to damage them and, at times, tear them loose from their connections. If you see ice building up on power lines, you should contact your utility company. If you should see a power line down, do not approach it. Move away from it and immediately contact the authorities.
4. DRIVING DANGERS
Black ice is the term given to ice on the road. At times it will look like the road is simply a little wet when in fact it is covered in ice. Take care when driving in cold, wet weather and give yourself the two most important things: time and distance. Do not rush or give your fellow drivers more room than you normally would. Your car should be fitted with the correct tires and chains if needed. This can be the difference between getting home safely and trying to dig your car out of a snowbank you slid into.
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This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE ™ Spring 2015 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.